State and Local Provisions Regarding Cohabitation

A few states still recognize common law marriages. In some states, common law marriages are valid only if they were entered into before a certain date. Several towns and counties now recognize domestic relations rights and extend benefits to common law spouses. Check with your state and local laws to know if you are eligible for any benefits.

The following states recognize common law marriage but neither the state nor any town or county bestow any rights to domestic partners:

Alabama

Kansas

Oklahoma

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Utah

Montana

New Hampshire (only for inheritance purposes)

Ohio (marriages prior to October 10, 1991)

Idaho (marriages prior to January 1, 1996)

 

The following states do not recognize common law marriage and neither the state nor any town or county bestow any rights to domestic partners:

West Virginia

Wyoming

Alaska

Arkansas

Arizona

North Dakota

Mississippi

Delaware

Nevada

Kentucky

Tennessee

Nebraska

 

The following states do not recognize common law marriages but certain towns and counties extend benefits to domestic partners and maintain a domestic partners registry:

StatesTowns and Counties which extend benefitTowns and Counties with domestic partners registry
CaliforniaWest Hollywood, Venture County, Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, Man Mateo County, San Francisco County, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Petaluma, Oakland, Marin County, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Berkeley, Alameda CountyWest Hollywood, Santa Barbara County, San Francisco, Sacramento, Paolo Alto, Oakland, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Laguna Beach, Davis, Cathedral City, Berkeley, Arcata
Connecticut (the state also extends benefits)HartfordHartford
FloridaBroward County, West Palm BeachBroward County
Hawaii (only the state extends benefits)
IllinoisChicago, Cook County, Oak ParkOak Park
IndianaBloomington
LouisianaNew Orleans
MainePortlandPortland
MarylandBaltimore, Tacoma Park and Montgomery County
MassachusettsSpringfield, Provincetown, Nantucket, Brookline, Brewster, BostonNorthampton, Nantucket, Cambridge, Brookline, Brewster, Boston
MichiganWayne County, Washtenaw County, KalamazooAnn Arbor, East Lansing
MinnesotaMinneapolisMinneapolis
MissouriSt. Louis
New JerseyDelaware
New MexicoAlbuquerque
New YorkWestchester County, Rochester, New York, Ithaca, Eastchester, BrightonRochester, New York, Ithaca, Albany
North CarolinaChapel HillChapel Hill, Carrboro
Oregon (state extends benefits)Portland, Multnomah CountyAshland
Vermont (Only the state extends benefits. The benefits are extended to same sex couples also).
VirginiaArlington County
Washington (state extends benefits)Olympia, Tumwater, Seattle, King CountySeattle
WisconsinMadison, Sherwood Hills Village, Dane CountyMadison, Milwaukee

 

The following states recognize common law marriages. Some towns and counties also extend benefits to domestic partners in these states:

 

StateTowns and Counties which extend benefitTowns and Counties with domestic partner registry
ColoradoDenverDenver
Georgia (only marriages prior to January 1, 1997)AtlantaAtlanta
IowaIowa CityIowa City
PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaPhiladelphia
TexasTravis CountyTravis County

 

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